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January 10, 2022

How To Use Marketing Automation Triggers To Send Direct Mail

Marketing automation triggers are a key part of the modern marketing strategy. When your brand's outreach is tied to a consumer's action–like abandoning a shopping cart or signing up for an account–it has a much higher response rate than sending mass, untargeted messages. Because of that, enterprise marketers have long used consumer behavior to trigger marketing campaigns for email, SMS, chat, or mobile push notifications.

Despite all of these, many marketers neglect to include triggers for direct mail. This is in part because many marketers are still stuck in the old legacy method of managing direct mail: contracting a printer on a project-by-project basis, orchestrating creative and data for that specific project, and languishing an average of 75 business days from ideation to send. This legacy direct mail process would not be able to incorporate triggers such as customer behavior.

On top of that, legacy direct mail workflows usually aren't synced into your marketing tech stack, so even if you wanted to set up automated triggers, you don't have the technical capability.

The good news is both these problems can be easily solved. Once you integrate direct mail software into your marketing tech stack, setting up automated triggers is simple. Just like your digital channels, you can set up triggers based on customer behavior and lifecycle. For most marketing teams, once they switch over to triggered direct mail campaigns, they see a spike in results–like how ThredUP increased their repeat customer rate by 20%.

Read on for ideas and examples of how to send the right message at the right time using trigger-based direct mail campaigns.

Triggers to warm up leads

Direct mail is often used by marketers at scale to introduce prospective customers to their brand. However, it can play a much larger role in triggered campaigns to warm up leads who are considering a purchase. In a classic scenario, if a customer adds something to their shopping cart but doesn't place the order, you can trigger a direct mail postcard with a discount. Thinking about the business services sector, once a lead interacts with content like an ebook or webinar, you can follow up by mailing a whitepaper, brochure, or other marketing collateral to stay top-of-mind.

Here is a real-life example: A dentist-directed home orthodontic service offers prospective customers an impression kit as part of their pre-purchase lifecycle. If the prospect doesn't return the kit within 30 days, that triggers a mailpiece with a discount and different paths forward. By setting up a trigger based on customer behavior and a time-lapse, the brand stays top-of-mind and drives consumer action without getting lost in a digital inbox.

Triggers to onboard new customers

Once a customer makes their first purchase or signs a contract with your brand, your direct mail campaigns can help onboard and convert them into lifelong customers. For example, set up the completion of a "sign up" form to trigger a welcome kit with a personalized letter and brand merchandise.

Popular retailer ThredUP, prioritizes turning first-time customers into repeat customers. They focus on triggering direct mail sends after a customer's second and seventh purchase. These mailpieces are personalized with inventory specific to the customer's taste. They also include discount codes to encourage the customer to make another purchase. By setting up this triggered direct mail campaign, ThredUP increased their repeat customer rate by 20%.

Triggers for customer retention and upsells

Finally, direct mail triggers can play a large role in customer retention and upselling customers to new products. Some of these triggers might be based on purchase data. As an example, a retailer could set up an automation to send a shoe catalog to a customer who purchased boots from their site.

Other triggers might be time-based. The intimate apparel brand Third Love stays in touch with its customers by celebrating their "bra-niversary." Suppose your product has a specific lifecycle; you could also send direct mail reminders about replacing parts or ordering updated products, all based on the customer's original purchase date.

Setting up direct mail for marketing automation

When it comes to the technical side of automating your direct mail, you will need to keep a few key points in mind.

First, for marketing automation triggers to work, your direct mail software needs to communicate with customer data sources. Otherwise, you will not be able to set up triggers based on variables such as purchase date, product interests, or consumer behavior.

Second, your direct mail process needs to be as streamlined as possible. If you are still stuck in the legacy way of doing direct mail, your campaigns likely take an average of 75 business days to prepare. That isn't going to work for triggered mail sends.

Finally, your direct mail software should integrate with your entire marketing automation stack. Triggered campaigns work best when they are part of an omnichannel strategy that includes onsite chat, email, SMS, and mobile push. Your marketing will be that much more efficient and effective when you can set up, manage, and report on all these campaigns from one dashboard.

Direct mail is an important channel for all stages of the customer lifecycle. To learn more about marketing automation triggers or how to automate your direct mail sends based on customer behavior, reach out to Lob. Not only do we know a thing or two about modernizing direct mail, but we also focus on environmental sustainability.

Request a demo and see why Lob is the only automation platform for marketers who rely on direct mail.

This blog provides general information and discussion about direct mail marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.

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